Kevin Kelley
Kevin Kelley
An Indianapolis man is facing a reckless homicide charge after a 2020 boating accident on Lake Wawasee claimed the life of a 20-year-old Fortville man.

Kevin M. Kelley, 63, Indianapolis, was booked into the Kosciusko County Jail at 9:51 a.m. Tuesday for reckless homicide. His bond was set at $10,000 surety and $250 cash.

Court documents filed Friday state that on Aug. 8, 2020, Indiana Department of Natural Resources conservation officers, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Syracuse Police officers responded to a boat accident that resulted in serious bodily injury on Lake Wawasee. Officers were directed to a lake residence, which was owned/occupied by Kelley.

While Syracuse EMS attended to the injured man – identified as Nathaniel C. Mroz – officers conducted interviews of witnesses and made observations of the boat, identified as a Premier Marine Tri-Toon with a Suzuki 300 hp outboard.

Through the course of the officers’ investigation, they learned that Kelley, the owner of the boat, also was the driver at the time of the accident. According to court documents, “apparently, Kelley was pulling two tubes with three riders. During the course of this activity, it was discovered that all of the tubers had fallen into the water near the same time.”

Kelley admitted that when he was retrieving the tubers, he failed to observe that Mroz was directly in the path of the moving boat, court documents state. Kelley then ran over Mroz with the boat.

Officers interviewed one of the tubers, who indicated that he saw Mroz waving his arms as a safety measure for boaters to be aware of his presence in the water, just prior to being hit by Kelley’s boat.

Resuscitation efforts by Syracuse EMS of Mroz at the scene were unsuccessful and the Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office was requested at the scene. At the conclusion of the coroner’s investigation, it appeared that “all of the injuries suffered by Nathaniel Mroz were consistent with a sharp object or slicing type injury,” the court documents state. Combining this information with the officers’ investigation, the sharp object was determined to be the propeller from Kelley’s boat.

The investigation continued for several days after the accident by the DNR conservation officers, along with an evidence technician from the Indiana State Police.

Court documents state, “The evidence collected through their entire investigation indicated that Kelley, in retrieving the fallen tubers, had operated his boat at an unreasonable rate of speed and, without exercising adequate supervision of the tubers while in the water, carelessly and in willful disregard of the safety of others, unnecessarily endangered the safety of the tubers, which resulted in the death of Nathaniel Mroz.”